Robert Traill invites his hearers and readers to consider the following aspects of Peter’s failure and restoration:
1. His reaction to being called by the Lord Jesus, Lk 5:8f. Is there any hope that Christ and this man will ever be acquainted together, when at his first meeting, the first prayer that the man makes is, Lord, be gone, and leave me?
2. The bad counsel that he gave to his Master, Mt 14:22f. For this rebuke he earned a stinging reply from Jesus: “Get behind me, Satan!”
‘Peter’s denying of Christ was a dreadful sin, and there were prodigious aggravations of it.
(a) Christ warned him of it, and he did not believe his master…
(b) He fell on a slight and slender temptation, only the voice of a damsel in charging him to be one of them…
(c) …It was a repeated transgression; thrice did he do this: had he only denied his blessed Lord and Master through a sudden pang of fear, he might have recovered himself again on better thoughts; but a good while after he doth it again, and a little while after that, he doth it a third time, with cursing and swearing.
(d) The worst of all was, that all this was done when his master was at his lowest, and done in his hearing too…It is said, Luke 22:61. The Lord turned and looked on him; to be sure he was within his eye, if not within his hearing.’
3. His woeful denial of his Master, Mt 26; Mk 14; Lk 22; Jn 13:38. Who would imagine that this denier of Christ could ever become an apostle of Christ?
4. His being restored again, and that to the office of an apostle. This was achieved,
(a) By Christ’s looking on him, and looking repentance into him. Luke 22:61, 62.
(b) By the message of the angel sent by the women, Mk 16:7.
(c) By the words of the risen Lord himself, a threefold question matching the threefold denial, John 21:15, 16, 17.
(d) By his empowerment by the Holy Spirit, Acts 2, which resulted in his giving matchless testimony to the Lord.
(e) By his being given the honour of bringing the first fruits of the Gentiles to Christ, Acts 10.We have another evidence of this, and that concerns us; the first fruit of the Gentiles was committed to him, Acts 10; 15:7.
(Based, and in part quoting from Works, Vol IV)